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Medical Secretary


Medical secretaries support doctors and other health care professionals by performing a wide variety of clerical and administrative tasks. These duties range from scheduling appointments to word processing to filing. Since their work is highly specialized, their job requires them to have knowledge of medical terminology and procedures, such as insurance rules, billing practices and hospital or laboratory procedures.

Medical secretaries transcribe dictation, prepare correspondence, and assist physicians or medical scientists with reports, speeches, articles, and conference proceedings. They may also record patients' medical histories and order medical supplies. More generally, they organize and control the day-to-day functions of a health office or institution. They are truly the supporting backbone of a health organization and without them; most doctor's offices and hospitals would be in complete disarray. The duties and functions of a medical secretary vary greatly from one organization to the next. They perform administrative tasks ranging from routine general office functions to acting as special assistants in particular patient's cases. Depending on one's level of experience, the administrative duties will fluctuate.

In the last decade, the role of the medical secretary drastically evolved due to technological advancements. Computers have replaced and simplified some of the once-traditional tasks allowing medical secretaries to take on more challenging projects and responsibilities once reserved for nurses and other professional staff. Functions such as training new staff members, conducting research on the Internet, operating new office programs such as spreadsheets and multimedia presentations and operating medical equipment are good examples of some newer duties. In accordance with these technological changes, the medical secretary's main operative responsibilities have remained much the same. They still must answer phones, book appointments and run the medical office's administrative side.
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UEI College

At UEI College, we want you to succeed. We’re like a family and we want you to be a part of it.

Programs Offered:
  • Medical Office Specialist (10-Month Diploma Program)



  Average Earnings  
Lowest 10% of Earners:
Median Salary:
Highest 10% of Earners:

  Interests and Skills  
Medical secretaries will have good oral and written communication skills because they constantly speak with many people on the phone, booking appointments and answering questions. They have good interpersonal skills, excellent organizational and time management skills, and have the ability to work independently or as part of a team. Since many of the clients they deal with are sick, they must be sympathetic and patient with everyone they deal with. Finally, medical secretaries must have the ability to compile and organize information.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Answer the telephone, schedule and confirm medical appointments, greet patients, and receive and communicate messages to doctors
  • Use word processing, spreadsheet and other software applications to prepare reports, invoices, financial statements, letters, case histories and medical records
  • Interview patients to complete intake forms and other documents
  • Complete insurance and other claim forms
  • Set up and maintain records management systems, including classifying and coding electronic and hardcopy files
  • Operate sophisticated office equipment such as voice mail messaging systems
  • Perform other clerical and administrative functions as required, such as maintaining an inventory of supplies
  • Medical secretaries always work in health care settings. They may work at a desk or standing on their feet answering phones and greeting patients. Standard office hours are the norm for most medical secretaries, yet some may be required to work evenings and weekends. Those who work in hospitals and doctor's offices dealing directly with patients may regularly be exposed to contagious diseases.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Medical secretaries are employed by all kinds of health organizations: doctor's offices, hospitals, medical clinics and any other health care settings.

  Long Term Career Potential  
There is not that much room for advancement in this field as the next step up in a health organization is a doctor or nurse; both of which require extensive education. Experienced medical secretaries often advance from performing routine clerical tasks, such as answering phones and filing to the supervision of other medical secretaries. They can also move to other fields and work as administrative assistants and receptionists in the communications field or for a government agency.

  Educational Paths  
There is no set path for becoming a medical secretary. Most positions only require a high school diploma with strong communication skills. Community colleges offer diplomas and certificates in medical administrative or secretarial positions, which can also be very helpful and give you a competitive edge when searching for a job. Many medical secretaries also have related postsecondary educations in health. Knowledge of medical terminology is essential.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

Featured Schools

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UEI College

At UEI College, we want you to succeed. We’re like a family and we want you to be a part of it.

Programs Offered:
  • Medical Office Specialist (10-Month Diploma Program)

Brightwood College

At Brightwood College, we offer accelerated programs that combine flexible schedules and professional instruction to create a rewarding learning experience focused on helping you gain skills for your chosen career.

Programs Offered:
  • Medical Office Specialist

Milan Institute
Prepare for an exciting new career at the Milan Institute.
Programs Offered:
  • Administrative Medical Assistant

Virginia College

The goal of Virginia College lies in its responsibility to its students, the technical and business communities, and the general citizenry. We have a long history of offering new direction to students.

Programs Offered:
  • Medical Office Specialist Diploma
  • Medical Billing and Coding Specialist Diploma

Vancouver Career College
Get the skills you need to land the job you want at Vancouver Career College. We offer diploma programs in Business, Health Care, Technology and more.
Programs Offered:
  • Medical Office Assistant

Southern Careers Institute


Take the step to get a new career today

Programs Offered:
  • Medical Office Specialist
  • Medical Billing and Coding Specialist
  • Administrative Assistant

Reeves College
Launch your career in the areas of Healthcare, Business, and Hospitality at Reeves College.
Programs Offered:
  • Medical Office Assistant
  • Dental Office Administration

Fortis Institute

At Fortis Institute, you may get the skills and training you need to prepare for a career.

* Programs vary by location

* Please contact each individual campus for accreditation information

Programs Offered:
  • Medical Office Assisting

The College of Health Care Professions
The College of Health Care Professions is a great place for working adults to enhance their current careers, or help themselves find new career pathways to better lives. We also train high school graduates to enter in the exciting high demand Healthcare industry.

Programs Offered:
  • Medical Coding & Billing-Health Information Technology Cert.

Keiser University

Since 1977, Keiser University has provided quality student-centered, career-focused education. Keiser University Online offers degree programs online to prepare students for in-demand professions.

Programs Offered:
  • Associate of Science in Medical Administrative Billing and Coding

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